Gale winds and lightning push me a mile or more down the lake.
As the aluminum Grumman canoe fills with late-spring rain.
I bullied my sister, insisting on paddling alone, so she raged.
The storm wiped the smug smile from my face, added pain.
That canoe remains the symbol of love in my heart.
I cling to it in my dreams. Its nurturing hand saved
A ten-year-old that day, and inspires further pours of art:
Paddle trips for trilobites wedged in cliffs of shale.
It waited every winter, unlike others I know
We wrapped cross bars with life preservers to portage lake to creek.
We pulled ashore on Squaw Island, a long way to go,
Retracing the frightful past strengthened this belief.
Fifty years later, there you are, not a spot of rust,
We hit Canandaigua, my love, my arms, my trust.
DOUG STUBER: father, professor, abstract expressionist, Hippie-punk improv rock bassist. Twelfth volume “Chronic Observer” now available at Finishing Line Press’ online bookstore.